leaps & bounds dog food

Leaps & Bounds Dog Food Review - Including Puppy & Grain Free

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Want to try pet barn’s dog food brand? Today, our experts have a Leaps and Bounds dog food review to help you solve all your doubts. Here’s everything you need to know about this affordable brand:  

  • Leaps and Bounds is made by Pet Barn in Australia and New Zealand.
  • They offer regular and grain-free options, at a reasonable price
  • Their regular kibble is high in cereals, but their grain-free options have a good composition.
Pomeranian dog wait for food

Leaps and Bounds Dog Food Review

Leaps and Bounds Dog Food Review

Taste

Ingredients

Protein content

Additives

Variety

Price

Taste & Digestibility 4/5

This is a highly palatable food, meaning most dogs enjoy eating it. Since the first ingredient in all recipes is meat and meat meal, it’s no wonder pups like it. There are very few complaints about gastrointestinal issues when feeding this brand, so if your dog isn’t sensitive it might be a good option.

However, if your pup has a history of food sensitivities, Leaps and Bounds might cause some issues. This brand tends to use blanket terms on the ingredient list of their kibble recipes, meaning specific percentages of every ingredient change according to availability and cost. As such, every bag can be very different according to the season. If your dog doesn’t take well to sudden diet changes, it’s important to slowly phase out the open bag by mixing new and old food. Keep this up for about a week, upping the new food until they are eating it exclusively. This will help you avoid gastrointestinal distress when changing bags.

Because it’s impossible to guarantee a smooth transition even between same-brand bags, we’re taking off 1 star.

Ingredients 3/5

When it comes to its ingredient list, Leaps and Bounds is about average for a non-branded food. There are two main options when it comes to their dog food recipes: regular and grain-free. Today we’ll go over both, to see which one fits your dog’s specific needs better.

The ingredient list starts with meat meal from poultry, fish, beef and or lamb. It’s nice to see meat as the first ingredient, especially at this price-point.

Following meat, we have wholegrain cereals that can be either wheat or rice. This is where things start to get problematic. While dogs are omnivorous animals and can digest grains, these should be eaten in moderation. Cereals in particular have been a controversial addition to dog food. While dogs can eat them, they also tend to cause allergies among sensitive dogs. As such, the AKC mentions that

PRO TIP: "The top five allergy-provoking ingredients for dogs are (in order): beef, dairy, wheat, chicken and egg" – AKC [2]

This means that, when eaten in large quantities, wheat could jumpstart an allergic reaction. In general, it’s best to avoid wheat if your dog has a history of food allergies. In the case of leaps and bounds, we’re not thrilled with the high percentage of cereals in all their regular kibble recipes.

Leaps and Bounds grain-free recipe and ingredients

However, their grain-free line fares significantly better. After the same meat meal as the first ingredient, Leaps and Bounds grain-free kibble has vegetables and vegetable meals. These can include anything from field peas to soy bean, sweet potato and garlic. The third ingredient in their grain-free line is tapioca and potato starches. Let’s unpack what this means:

Peas and sweet potatoes are nice additions to dog food. Peas are high in vegetable proteins, but have a low glycemic index and provide nourishing fibre to your dog. Sweet potato has plenty of micronutrients, but might spike your dog’s blood sugar because of it’s a starchy root. Garlic is a controversial ingredient. According to Merck’s veterinary manual

PRO TIP: "garlic and other members of the allium family, including onions, contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to dogs but not to humans." – AKC [3]

When eaten in large quantities, garlic can cause hemolytic anemia. Other symptoms of garlic toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and abdominal pain. In spite of these results, certain brands include garlic within their ingredients. Garlic is only toxic when eaten in large amounts: at least 15 to 30 grams.

Considering a garlic clove is around 7 grams, your dog would have to eat many to get sick. On the flip side, garlic can be effective to boost hepatic nutrient absorption and can also be used as a flea preventative. Some dogs are more sensitive to garlic than others, so you’ll have to try it out for yourself to make a final decision.

This brand doesn’t disclose the specific percentages of each of these veggies. This probably means quantities change according to seasonal availability and costs. If your dog is especially sensitive to diet changes, or shouldn’t eat garlic in large quantities, this isn’t the right choice for you.

Finally, the third ingredient in all recipes -both regular and grain-free – is soy bean and/or chicken fat. It’s good to see a little extra fat added, since there’s a relatively low percentage overall (10% in the regular adult recipe). Keep in mind the grain-free recipes are a little higher in fat, which is good for your pup.

Protein Content 3/5

As we already mentioned, the first ingredient in all recipes is meat meal. According to the AAFCO, meat meal is a dehydrated animal protein concentrate that’s high in protein. [1] However, we don’t like that it states the meat can be sourced from either of those animals, which implies decisions are made based on seasonality to keep costs down. This also makes it impossible to know the specific percentages, so if your dog needs to avoid certain proteins this isn’t the brand for you.

Leaps and Bounds kibble recipes have adequate protein content, in line with AAFCO’s recommendation of at least 18%. As such, their grained recipes have around 24% protein, while the grain-free ones have 28%. While this might look good at first glance, this protein doesn’t come exclusively from animal protein.

Both grained and grain-free recipes include soya bean within the first 3 ingredients. In fact, the grain-free recipes also include peas. These veggies are very high in protein, which probably accounts for a good chunk of the total protein percentage.

A good indicator as to where is the bulk of that protein comes from is looking at the total fat content. The regular recipes have only 10% of fat. This isn’t good, because dogs take energy and healthy micronutrients from animal fat. The lower fat percentage also means there’s less meat overall.

However, grain-free recipes have around 14% of fat. While this isn’t the best, it’s significantly higher and probably means these recipes have more animal protein.

In general, at this price point the protein sources are fairly good. It would be nice to see more animal protein, but that would probably mean hiking up the price. We’re giving Leaps and Bounds 3 out of 5 in this category.

Additives 3/5

When it comes to extras, this brand fares reasonably well. Both grained and grain-free recipes have pretty similar additives, including beet pulp, oils and chicory root. Beet pulp provides bulk and fibre, helping your dog feel fuller, while the oils help with omega -3 and -6. Finally, chicory root inulin adds prebiotic fibre to keep your dog’s tummy healthier.

Among the additives we don’t like, there’s salt and potassium chloride. Salt is used to increase palatability, but it can cause kidney problems among dogs. In general, dog food shouldn’t have added salt, although it’s a common ingredient. Potassium chloride is a potassium salt that also helps with flavour. However, it isn’t recommended in high doses for dogs with kidney issues, ulcers, heart disease or those at risk of dehydration [4].

Since we mostly like the additives in Leaps and Bounds dry kibble, we’re giving it 3 out of 5.

Variety 4/5

As we already mentioned, there are two main lines: regular and grain-free. This brand features the most variety in their dry kibble line. In contrast, their canned and frozen options are very limited.

It’s important to note that while many recipes claim to be based around proteins other than chicken and beef (like kangaroo or crocodile), none of these exotic options use exclusively those protein sources. As such, both the kangaroo and crocodile options also have chicken and/or beef within the first 3 ingredients. This is key if you’re trying to feed a limited-ingredient diet to your pup, as you won’t be able to offer a single protein source with this brand.

On the other hand, Leaps and Bounds has options based on your dog’s age as well as their adult size. They also carry one recipe for sensitive skin and another for active pups.

Because of the misleading protein labelling -which is common in the industry- and limited recipes for sensitive and active dogs, we’re giving this 4 out of 5 stars.

Price 5/5

Since this brand is made by Petbarn, the price is pretty reasonable. If you’re feeding a large dog or a pack, you can easily find 15kg kibble bags as well as frozen food in 2.7 kg packs. This is probably more than enough for the average owner, and you’ll save even more by buying in bulk.

Because of the reasonable price, we’re giving Leaps and Bounds 5 out of 5.


Leaps & Bounds Puppy Food Review

Sharpei puppies eating

This brand offers some puppy options, although their range isn’t especially wide. As such, you can find 3 regular recipes and 2 grain-free options.

In the regular line, you have the choice between all-breeds puppy (both as kibble and canned) and large-breed puppy (only as kibble). On the other hand, the grain-free options only have a puppy kibble and puppy frozen food, without special options for breed size.

While this might work if you have a medium to large puppy, mini and toy breeds could have a harder time chewing on the regular puppy kibble.


Leaps and Bounds frozen Food Review

While this brand’s dry food options aren’t particularly remarkable, we find their frozen food options to be very complete.

Taking for example the crocodile and veggies frozen recipe, it’s evident the composition is much more balanced than the dry kibble or canned food options. For starters, the first 5 (!) ingredients are animal protein of different kinds. These include crocodile and chicken meat, finely ground chicken bone and cartilage, lamb heart, liver and kidney. We especially like the addition of liver, heart and kidney, since these give essential micronutrients to your pup. Following the bulk of the food, we have celery, carrots, apples, wheat and barley grass. The rest of the ingredient list is full of other goodies like whole egg, seaweed, probiotics and prebiotics.

A small caveat: in spite of the nice composition and the fact it is advertised as a "complete meal", every portion has only 14% protein and 12% crude fats. This is below the AAFCO’s recommended 18% minimum protein. If you plan on making this frozen food the base of your dog’s diet, you’ll have to supplement with extra meat to make sure they’re getting a balanced diet.


Don’t Buy If…

While Leaps and Bounds is a good option for many pups and their owners, you might want to choose another brand if you:

  • Have a dog that’s sensitive to garlic: both their kibble and wet options have garlic in the ingredient list. The garlic is especially prominent in their regular dry food recipes. In general this shouldn’t be a problem, but if your dog has a sensitive tummy it might be better to skip it.
  • Have a history of food sensitivities: since this brand’s regular dry food is high on wheat, it might upset your dog’s stomach if they’re allergic or sensitive. If you’re on the fence about giving wheat to your dog, you could try their grain-free line that has a better nutritional profile.
  • Want to have dry food as the base of your dog’s diet: as we already mentioned, the frozen food has a better composition than their kibble. This is to be expected, since kibble needs a lot of starch to keep its shape. However, if you prefer the ease of storing and feeding kibble, this might not be the brand for you.

Leaps & Bounds Pet Food: The Verdict

This dog food is a reasonable option if you’re on a tight budget. We recommend going for their grain-free frozen options, or the grain-free kibble if you’d rather stick to dry food.

Of course, this isn’t the best dog food out there, but for owners looking to feed a large pack or that can’t afford the super-premium brands, Leaps and Bounds is better than many.

Want to read more dog food brand reviews? Check out the below:

References
  1. What’s in pet food. AAFCO. https://www.aafco.org/Consumers/What-is-in-Pet-Food
  2. Can Dogs Eat Wheat And Other Grains? American kennel club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-wheat/
  3. Can Dogs Eat Garlic? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-garlic/
  4. Potassium salts. VCA hospitals. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/potassium-chloride
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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